Georgia Air National Guard Opens New Medical Complex - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/12/07

Georgia Air National Guard Opens New Medical Complex

New Joint Medical Operational and Training Center. New Joint Medical Operational and Training Center.

A new military complex is getting ready to open at Travis Field. Take a look at this brand-new building.

"It's a tremendous day for us," said Col. Hank Smart, the 165th Airlift Wing commander and base commander.

Smart is beaming because today the Georgia Air National Guard cut the ribbon on its new Joint Medical Operational and Training Center. He says it will allow wings and units from all over the United States to train for war and improve their fighting capabilities.

But that's not all. Inside you'll find the 165th Airlift Wing hospital, where Guardsmen can go to get their flight physicals, shots and checkups.

"This is the way a lot of stuff is getting done," said Col. Smart. "You get everybody together and you train them in one spot. It's a lot easier than putting them in huts or tents and trying to train them that way."

The other new building, the Munitions Administrative Building, is just down the road. Col. Smart says it will allow fighter wings to come and store their munitions so they can train or have inspections.

"They can be brought up to speed on newest tactics and technology to fight and train in continuing the war on terror," said Col. Smart.

US Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA Dist. 1) says that the nearly $8.5 million spent in total on both the Joint Medical Operational and Training Center and this Munitions Administrative Building was money well spent.

"When you look at what happens in the time of war you have the guard all over the world," he said. "Right now in Afghanistan and Iraq and we want to make sure that they have a great facility and great training so that at any time with any conflict they'll be ready to deploy."

And even though this training center has been in the works since the late '80s, Col. Smart says now that it's here, he and his men and women will waste no time breaking it in.

"It will be a legacy, long after I'm gone. And it will get great use," said Col. Smart.

Col. Smart says a new headquarters is also in the works and slated for next Fall. The hospital in the new training center won't see its first patient until next weekend.

Reported by:  David Hall, dhall@wtoc.com

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